The Gift of Music: Common Grace and Common Ground - page 6

 


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From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

The Gift of Music: Common Grace and Common Ground

by Randy Newman, Ph.D.
Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism,
C.S. Lewis Institute

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  When people share their wonderings about what life is all about or how random or chaotic our world seems, affirm their suspicion that “there’s got to be more to life.” Maybe you will have opportunity to quote Leonard Bernstein and see what they think of his insights. The great composer of classical and Broadway masterpieces and conductor of the New York Philharmonic once said, “Beethoven … leaves us … with the feeling that something is right in the world, that something checks throughout, something that follows its own laws consistently, something we can trust, that will never let us down.”6
  I believe Bernstein was on to something. Music does indeed make us think that “something is right in the world.” But I disagree with his view that music “will never let us down.” We need to look to Someone greater than Beethoven for that.

 

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Notes:
1 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; repr. New York: Simon & Schuster, Touchstone, 1996), 121.
2 C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980), 29.
3 Anthony Storr, Music and the Mind (New York: Ballantine, 1983), 187.
4 Ibid., 188.
5 Robert Greenberg, Bach and the High Baroque (Chantilly, VA: The Great Courses, 1998), 279.
6 Leonard Bernstein, The Joy of Music (Pompton Plains, NJ: Amadeus Press, 2004), 105.

 

Randy Newman  is Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism at the C.S. Lewis Institute. He is also an adjunct professor at Talbot School of Theology. He received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. After serving for over 30 years with Campus Crusade for Christ, he established Connection Points, a ministry to help Christians engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did. He has written three books and numerous articles about evangelism and other ways our lives intertwine with God’s creation. He and his wife Pam live in Annandale, VA and have three grown sons. Randy blogs at www.connectionpoints.us.

 


Recommended Reading:
Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson, The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence (Expanded and Revised, 3rd edition), Foreword by Francis A. Schaeffer (Crossway, 1995)

One of the finest achievements of Western culture is its brilliant heritage of classical music. A Gift of Music looks at the lives of the greatest composers who have given us this heritage, and especially at how their music was shaped by their beliefs.

The result is a remarkable and inspiring book, showing the importance of Christian faith for many composers, and the effect of this upon their music. But it also shows how the lack of faith has brought profound change in the meaning and form of contemporary music.

Thus A Gift of Music seeks to open up a whole new world of music—to encourage listening to the finest compositions with new understanding and pleasure, and to stretch our ears and imaginations. It is a book which will be greatly appreciated by those who already love classical music, and by others who want to explore this delightful world for the first time.

 
COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

 

 

 
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